SSP Daily Digest: 7/8 (Afternoon Edition)

AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski, whose primary challenge from Some Dude got much more interesting when Sarah Palin endorsed said Dude (Joe Miller), won’t be able to count on appointed Gov. Sean Parnell’s explicit backing in the primary. When pressed on the issue at a gubernatorial debate last night, Parnell “visibly squirmed” before saying that he would support whoever wins the primary.

LA-Sen: I hope your last few days are going better for you than David Vitter’s last few days: yesterday, he had to face a phalanx of reporters interested in the issue of Brent Furer’s continued presence on Vitter’s staff despite his criminal record. Vitter said that was old news, that Furer had been disciplined two years ago, and moreover that Furer hadn’t been assigned to handle women’s issues. Now it’s come out that several legislative guide books, in fact, do list Furer as Vitter’s point man on women’s issues. (TPM’s link has video of Vitter in front of reporters. Think back to the visuals of his post-prostitution-problem press conference, and note again that Vitter is using his wife literally as a human shield.)

NV-Sen: Ah, Sharron Angle… the gift that just keeps on giving, day after day. Everyone is abuzz that she called the BP oil-spill escrow account a “slush fund,” apparently having learned nothing from Joe Barton getting raked over the coals for saying the same thing (to say nothing of the fact that she threw a dogwhistle reference to Saul Alinsky in there for her ultra-right-wing fans, completely apropos of nothing). After a brief firestorm, Angle is already walking back the “slush fund” comment. And “slush fund” wasn’t even the most outrageous Angle quote that came out today, as it was came out that when she successfully counseled a young girl impregnated after being raped by her father against getting an abortion, she referred to that as turning “a lemon situation into lemonade.” Well, if the GOP was thinking it was OK to let Sharron Angle out of whatever undisclosed bunker they’ve been keeping her in (and Rand Paul and Mark Kirk), it looks like it’s back to the bunker for a few more weeks.

NY-Sen-B: David Malpass gave some clarification to his comments yesterday that he’d like to be on Carl Paladino’s Taxpayer’s line in November: he won’t seek the line if he isn’t also the GOP nominee, in order to not be a spoiler for the Republican candidate. Bad news for fans of cat fud.

OH-Sen: Despite Lee Fisher’s fairly consistent if small lead in the polls in this race, there are almost nine million big reasons to be pessimistic about this race, and that’s Rob Portman’s war chest. Portman raised $2.6 million in the second quarter, leaving him with $8.8 million cash on hand.

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is out with five (5!) new TV ads, hammering on government spending. His camp says the ads will run “statewide” and for an “indefinite” period of time, but… and you can probably guess what I’m going to say next… no word on the size of the buy.

GA-Gov: If John Oxendine can pull out a Republican primary victory despite his seeming slide in the polls, his money will have a lot to do with it: he raised $850K in the last two months and is currently sitting on $1.83 million CoH (tops among GOPers, but way behind Dem Roy Barnes’ $4 million). Meanwhile, Nathan Deal, sinking into 3rd place, has been brainstorming about what or who Republican base voters really seem to hate these days, and apparently he’s settled on immigrants, as he’s now loudly touting his plans to duplicate Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law in Georgia.

KY-Gov: PPP takes an advance look at the Kentucky gubernatorial race in 2011, finding that incumbent Dem Steve Beshear (elected easily against hapless Ernie Fletcher in 2007) has a tough re-election fight ahead of him. Beshear (with 38/35 approval) leads Trey Grayson 41-38, but trails Agriculture Comm. Richie Farmer 40-39.

SC-Gov: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is pointedly sticking with its endorsement of Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen, despite some carping from its internal ranks that they should have endorsed Nikki Haley. The Chamber is framing the issue as that the Governor needs to actually cooperate with the (GOP-controlled) legislature to get things done, something that Mark Sanford didn’t do and that they don’t see Haley changing. The Haley campaign tried playing the TARP card against the Chamber, saying that they’re “a big fan of bailouts and corporate welfare.”

TX-Gov: Despite increasing evidence of links between the Greens’ petition drive and the Texas GOP’s financial kingpins, the Texas Dems seem to sense they aren’t going to get any further on their efforts to kick the Greens off the ballot (having run into an obstacle in the form of the GOP-owned Texas Supreme Court). They dropped their challenge to the Greens staying on the ballot, which clears the way Green candidate Deb Shafto to appear on the gubernatorial ballot to give the shafto to Bill White. (They’re keeping the case alive at the district court level in an effort to get civil penalties imposed, though.)

OH-03: I don’t know how many other states do this instead of allowing selection by party bosses, but Ohio is poised to have an unusual “special primary” in the 3rd, on Tuesday, July 13. This was brought about when Mark MacNealy, the Democratic nominee in the 3rd (to go against Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Turner), dropped out of the race post-primary. This race is on absolutely nobody’s radar (although it’s a swing district, so it could be interesting with a top-tier candidate), so I can’t say we’ll be burning the midnight oil liveblogging Tuesday’s contest.

OH-12: This is a swing district (D+1) with a top-tier Democratic challenger, so the DCCC has been right to tout this as one of our few legitimate offense opportunities. This just may not be the right year, though, if a new internal poll for Rep. Pat Tiberi (from the ubiquitous POS) is to be believed: he leads Dem Franklin Co. Commisioner Paula Brooks by a gaudy 53-28 margin.

WI-07: With Sean Duffy having reported strong fundraising numbers yesterday, it’s good to see that state Sen. Julie Lassa, who’s trying to hold this seat after David Obey’s late retirement announcement, is raking in the money too. She raised $310K in just six weeks.

WV-01: After Mike Oliverio walked back his earlier statements from the primary where he was agnostic about voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, it seems like Oliverio and the Democratic leadership have kissed and made up, sensing a good opportunity for a Democratic hold here. Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, and Chris Van Hollen have all cut big checks for Oliverio (although, perhaps pointedly, Pelosi herself has not). Oliverio also announced having raised $300K just during the month of June. Given Alan Mollohan’s seeming allergy to fundraising, we may have given ourselves an electoral upgrade here (though definitely not an ideological one).

OH-3: Under the Radar, Strong chance of Dem pick-up

OH-3, with a Cook PVI of just R+3 and centered in Dayton, was represented for a long time by a moderate Democrat Tony Hall. Next to the Detroit/Flint area, no metro area has suffered more from auto industry job losses than Dayton.

OH-3 was redrawn for the 2002 election in exclude some black and working-class white inner suburbs of Dayton, and include some rural and exurban areas. Hall decided to accept a position at the UN rather than run in the new district, and Republican Mayor of Dayton Mike Turner won the district.

Despite the redistricting, OH-3 nonetheless still has a black population of 17% and the white population is heavily unionized or in union households.

The economy of the area is in free-fall, with multiple auto plants employing several thousand people either shut down or scheduled to shut down.  White collar workers also are suffering massive job losses as Mead Corporation recently moved its headquarters and several thousand jobs to Virginia after its merger with another company.

What were once upper-middle class suburbs in this district are now several years into a deep recession that is rapidly getting worse.

The Dem candidate, Jane Mitakides, is credible and has decent fundraising. Neither candidate has actually raised all that much, but they don’t need to given the very cheap price of TV time on Dayton TV.

Right now Turner leads COH 976K to 271K, but Mitakides has been beating or at parity with Turner’s fundraising for 3 straight quarters. The DCCC would only have to spend 1.5% of its current COH to bring Mitakides into fundraising parity with Turner.

Jane will also benefit from massive spending and organization efforts by Obama and the DNC and from union-funded 527 organizations.

This district voted for Dem Senate challanger Brown over incumbent Republican Mike DeWine in 2006, despite the fact that DeWine is from the Dayton area. Jane’s blog notes that

The balance of registrations went from 58,178 Democratic vs. 78,799 GOP before the 2008 primary to a whopping advantage of  128,793 registered Democrats vs. 80,932 GOP as of the end of May.

In other words, the district went from a 20,000 voter GOP registration advantage to a 48,000 Dem advantage.

While this is not as “sexy” like some races that feature telegenic Dem candidates, are near big media centers, or which feature especially odious Republican incumbents, it certainly is not a “safe GOP” district and probably belongs in Lean GOP.

One other wild-card here is that two Ohioans are repeatedly mentioned in possible Obama VP choices: Gov. Strickland and Sen. Brown. The choice of either of these two proven winners would probably be good for an down-ticket bump for down-ticket Dems in Ohio of 3 or 4 points.

During the 1990-2005 period, when the auto industry boomed, the Ohio that once repeatedly sent a Sanders/Wellstone-style progressive like Howard Metzenbaum to the Senate drifted right under popular moderate Republican governors. Now socially conservative/economically progressive voters that make up a big part of Ohio’s population are swinging back left at breakneck speed, with multiple impressive victories in 2006.  

OH-03: Look Who’s Leading the Way in Ohio (with cool chart)

Opportunity is clearly knocking in southwest Ohio, thanks to Jane Mitakides in OH-3, Steve Driehaus in OH-1, and Victoria Wulsin in OH-2 . But as you consider these races, take a look at the actual, hard numbers comparing the three districts:

Democratic Performance Chart

Democratic challenger performance in OH-3 is trending through the roof, besting 60% in the 2008 primary. Governor Ted Strickland carried OH-3 in 2006, making it the only district in the region that he won with more than 50%. This is a highly winnable race.

Democratic performance is on a dramatic upward trajectory-up more than 22% from 2004 to 2008, which is the largest increase among Congressional Districts in Southwest Ohio. In 2006, Democratic performance increased 21.5% in the usually GOP counties of Highland and Clinton.

A 137% increase in Democratic turnout between the 2004 and 2008 primary in Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District illustrates how excited voters are in OH-3 for a new direction for America. GOP primary turnout increased by only 25% over the same period.

*It is vital to remember that OH-3 looks skewed because of the sudden withdrawal of the initial candidate in 2006. Despite the odds and no name recognition, a political newcomer got 41% of the vote in a 53 day campaign.

(Cross-posted from

OH-03: Mitakides Campaign Goes Carbon Neutral

(Cross-posted from

Many politicians use Earth Day for their own purposes, focusing on environmental issues for one day a year.  However, global warming doesn’t take a vacation for the other 364 days a year – and neither can we. That’s why Jane Mitakides has decided to walk the talk of green solutions by making her campaign carbon neutral, and committing to work for renewable energy and green jobs when elected to Congress.

By underwriting carbon offsets from, an organization that helps individuals, businesses, and organizations to eliminate their carbon footprints, the Mitakides campaign becomes the first one of the first congressional campaigns in the nation (and the first in Ohio) to take responsibility for their own greenhouse gas emissions. Jane sees investing in renewable energy as the first step in a process that will create jobs and protect the environment.  The fossil fuels that cause climate change and keep us beholden to foreign dictatorships can no longer be at the foundation of our economy.

Creating tax incentives for clean energy sources will allow these industries to flourish, and instead of supporting unnecessary tax subsidies for Big Oil, she will work to pass such incentives when in Congress. Greening our economy is a no-brainer: between fighting global warming, creating green jobs, and saving consumers across the board, this should be a priority in Congress. Jane Mitakides intends to be a leader in Congress, and that starts now by having a campaign that takes responsibility and utilizes real solutions for our challenges.

OH-03: Mitakides Out-Raises Incumbent for Second Filing in a Row

Jane Mitakides, a Responsible Plan endorsee running in the Ohio Third, has reported $164,252.53 in total receipts for the first quarter of fundraising.

With money coming in at more than twice the rate of her opponent, Jane will be able to run an aggressive campaign that builds on the record-breaking Democratic turn-out in the March 4th primary and the changing dynamic of a district that is trending blue.

Some speculate that Mike Turner’s dwindling support is due to ethical issues and frequent exaggerations that are affecting his campaign’s bottom-line.

Jane Mitakides, a Responsible Plan endorsee running in the Ohio Third, has reported $164,252.53 in total receipts for the first quarter of fundraising.

With money coming in at more than twice the rate of her opponent, Jane will be able to run an aggressive campaign that builds on the record-breaking Democratic turn-out in the March 4th primary and the changing dynamic of a district that is trending blue.

Some speculate that Mike Turner’s dwindling support is due to ethical issues and frequent exaggerations that are affecting his campaign’s bottom-line.

With her strong grassroots support, Jane won a competitive three-way primary with more votes than her opponents combined, and she still held on to more of her first-quarter raised cash than her opponent, who has spent more than he raised in Q1, even though he was unopposed in the primary.

Fundraising is a tangible measure of support for a race, and it’s big news when a challenger is consistently out-raising an incumbent.  It shows that voters are ready to make change happen and finally end the era of back-room deals and no-bid contracts.

This is a winnable race, but we still have a long way to go – and we’re counting on you to help!

Learn more about Jane at Jane Mitakides for Congress and be a part of the campaign by contributing!

OH-03: Turner makes up controversy, Rangel fires back

Cross-posted from Jane Mitakides for Congress

What’s a Congressman to do, when the only legislation he’s passed during five years on the job renamed a Dayton park, when he votes as a right-wing partisan 87% of the time, and if he has a 30% rating with veterans groups?  Especially when he’s being challenged by a strong candidate, in a now-blue district that went 55% for Ted Strickland?

Well, he could just make something up. Unless of course, the Chairman of Ways and Means catches him!

Turner accused of causing needless worry

Democrats say questions he raised about Delphi worker eligibility for tax rebates were unfounded.

Cross-posted from Jane Mitakides for Congress

What’s a Congressman to do, when the only legislation he’s passed during five years on the job renamed a Dayton park, when he votes as a right-wing partisan 87% of the time, and if he has a 30% rating with veterans groups?  Especially when he’s being challenged by a strong candidate, in a now-blue district that went 55% for Ted Strickland?

Well, he could just make something up. Unless of course, the Chairman of Ways and Means catches him!

Turner accused of causing needless worry

Democrats say questions he raised about Delphi worker eligibility for tax rebates were unfounded.

By Lynn Hulsey Staff Writer Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Democrats are accusing U.S. Rep. Mike Turner of needlessly worrying former Delphi workers.

At issue are questions Turner raised about the workers' eligibility for economic stimulus rebates after he'd already voted for the bill that ensured the workers would get the money.

On Monday, March 31, Turner, R-Centerville, denied he misled anyone. He said he was responding to concerns from constituents and trying to change the bill to get rebate checks into workers' hands more quickly.

However, J. Jioni Palmer, spokesman for the House Ways and Means committee, said Turner sent no legislative language to the committee prior to final approval by Congress.

Turner's Third District Democratic opponent, Washington Twp. businesswoman Jane Mitakides, accused Turner of trying to create the "illusion of working for the people of this district."

"The notion that these rebates were at risk and then somehow salvaged was absolutely misleading," said Mitakides. "It's the legislative equivalent of turning in someone else's homework and taking credit for it."


On Feb. 1, a day after Turner voted for the House bill, he announced he'd sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., and three other House and Senate leaders in response to concerns by former Delphi workers.

"I am writing to request that clarifying language be added to the Economic Stimulus package that ensures tax rebates will be given to workers" displaced by foreign trade, wrote Turner. He said workers' buyout payments should not count as income.


The next day Rangel wrote to Turner and said Turner's Feb. 1 letter was unnecessary because the problem "did not exist in the legislation that passed the House" with Turner's support.

"I'm hopeful that the misunderstanding did not cause alarm among Delphi workers who may have questioned their rebate eligibility," Rangel wrote.


Mike Turner did nothing but try to gain political points from a controversy he created.  He voted for the bill before he had problems with it, yet offered no legislative language – because none was necessary. Maybe the Congressman from the Ohio 3rd needs a little lesson in the legislative process? May I suggest the following?

Roundup of Ohio Congressional Races

Following the break is a complete roundup and ranking of Ohio races for the U.S. House of Representatives. I have separated them into Republican-held and Democratic-held seats and divided each into tiers. Within each tier they are ranked in order of likelihood of changing parties.

Democrats were very successful in 2006 in winning a U.S. Senate seat, four out of five statewide offices, and a net gain of seven seats in the Ohio House of Representatives, but  the U.S. House races were a relative disappointment. The party gained only one seat and watched two promising races end in narrow losses after recounts. In this cycle Ohio has three open GOP seats and perhaps four or five races altogether that already look very promising, with another two or three that could be added to that list. The DCCC has already added three races to their “Red to Blue” program and is likely to take an interest in at least two more. In other words, Ohio is once again a critical congressional battleground.

Republican-Held Seats

Tier One: Toss-Up

15th District Central Ohio (includes part of Columbus and west and northwest suburbs, Hilliard, Marysville). Cook PVI R+1.1. Bush won 50% in 2004. In 2006 retiring incumbent Deborah Pryce (R) defeated Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by just over 1,000 votes. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 62.1% Democratic. DCCC Red-to-Blue program.

County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) is running almost like an incumbent after her photo finish in 2006 and the retirement of her opponent. She has raised an impressive amount of money and has strong support from labor, womens’ groups (including Emily’s List) and among students, who are very numerous in this district. She is an energetic campaigner although not the most polished of public speakers. Opponent State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington), an Iraq veteran and former bank lobbyist, is a strong adversary with big support from the business community. Independent candidate Don Elijah Eckhart (I-Galloway) figures to take a few votes away from Stivers.

16th District NE Ohio (includes Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Wadsworth, Medina, Wooster, Ashland). Cook PVI R+3.6. Bush won 54% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Ralph Regula (R), who is retiring, fared poorly in the GOP primary (58% to 43% over conservative Matt Miller (R-Ashland)) and defeated political novice Rev. Tom Shaw (D-Wooster) by the surprisingly narrow margin of 59% to 41% in the general election. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 60.8% Democratic. DCCC Red-to-Blue program.

Iraq veteran and former collegiate baseball star State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is a terrific candidate and is adored in his state legislative district. This congressional district unfortunately includes only a tiny slice of his home turf, but Boccieri is working very hard to build name recognition here and he has the energy and political talent to make it work. Opponent State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), a moderate, is strong in vote-rich Stark County but barely escaped a three-way primary against two more conservative opponents. The keys to this election are whether the Republican base turns out for Schuring and whether Boccieri can hold down Schuring’s advantage in blue-trending Stark County while gaining big vote totals elsewhere.

Tier Two: Leans Republican

1st District SW Ohio (includes part of Cincinnati and western suburbs). Cook PVI R+1. Bush won 50% of the vote in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Steve Chabot (R) defeated second-time challenger Councilman John Cranley (D) by 53% to 47%. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 55.4% Democratic. DCCC Red-to-Blue program.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) defied pundits and polls by holding off a hard-charging challenger last cycle. State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) is thought to be a stronger opponent because his base is in the suburbs rather than the city, and like Cranley before him he has moderate-to-conservative positions on social issues that should have cross-over appeal in this swing district. Chabot was the target of independent attack ads over his votes against expanding SCHIP during the past year. Independent Rich Stevenson (I) is also in the race.

2nd District SW Ohio (includes part of Cincinnati and eastern suburbs, Lebanon, Portsmouth). Cook PVI R+13. Bush won 64% in 2004. Incumbent Jean Schmidt (R) defeated Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D) by less than 3,000 votes (51% to 49%) in 2006. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 57.2% Democratic.

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) has embarrassed herself on the floor of the House with her assault on Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) and by plagiarism in a constituent newsletter and exaggerating her credentials, but she is probably in a stronger position now than 2006 because she has completed a full term in office. Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) emerged victorious from a bruising primary in which she endured withering (and unsubstantiated) attacks on her medical ethics. Wulsin takes heart from having outgained Schmidt in their respective primaries (54,965 to 40,891) and from having gained more Democratic votes and coming closer to winning in 2006 than any previous Democratic candidate since 1980. She is an experienced campaigner after two previous outings. Independent David Krikorian (I) is reportedly gathering signatures to join the race.

Tier Three: Likely Republican

14th District NE Ohio (includes northeast suburbs of Akron, Willoughby, Mentor, Ashtabula). Cook PVI R+2. Bush won 52% in 2004. Incumbent Steve LaTourette (R) defeated law professor Lew Katz (D) by 58% to 39% in 2006. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 64.9% Democratic.

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Chagrin Falls) has his toughest opponent since he defeated incumbent Eric Fingerhut (D) 14 years ago. Vietnam veteran and former appellate judge William O’Neill (D-South Russell) has good name recognition from his appellate judicial races and 2006 Ohio Supreme Court bid, has raised serious money (although he is still far behind LaTourette), and has a direct, plain-spoken personality (softened by his remarkable second career as a pediatric ER nurse) that should serve him well in this suburban-to-rural swing district. LaTourette’s biggest assets have been his ability to bring home federal dollars, which is blunted by being in the minority, and his reputation as a moderate, which is questionable. LaTourette is somewhat tainted by links to Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney, breaking a promise to vote against CAFTA, and his divorce and affair with a staffer whom he latter married. Unfortunately O’Neill underwent heart bypass surgery recently that will slow him down for another month or so, but he is a determined and formidable candidate who could elevate this to a top tier race.

Tier Four: High Probability Republican

7th District. South Central Ohio (includes southwest suburbs of Columbus, Lancaster, Xenia, Circleville, Springfield). Cook PVI R+6.0. Bush won 57% in 2004. Retiring incumbent Dave Hobson defeated repeat challenger Bill Conner (D) by 61% to 39% in 2006. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 52.9% Democratic.

This race has upside potential because it is an open seat. Corporate attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) emerged from a six-way primary through hard work and a skillful direct mailing campaign. She is a first-time candidate but she has displayed excellent potential for fund-raising, has brought aboard first-rate campaign staff, and is dedicated to taking the necessary steps to run a seriously competitive campaign. I am hoping that she will work on displaying more passion in her public speaking, which on the occasion I heard her was somewhat low-key. State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) is photogenic and has the support of the incumbent but hasn’t particularly distinguished himself as a state legislator.

3rd District. SW Ohio (includes Dayton and southern suburbs, Kettering, Miamisburg). Cook PVI R+3. Bush won 54% in 2004. Incumbent Michael Turner (R) defeated former federal prosecutor Richard Chema (D) by 59% to 41% in 2006. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 60.2% Democratic.

This should be a swing district based on the strong performance here by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2006. It was held by Democrat Tony Hall from 1981 to 2003. Unfortunately, incumbent Rep. Michael Turner (R-Centerville) benefits from having been Mayor of Dayton, where most of the Democratic votes are located. Nevertheless, business woman and long-time political activist Jane Mitakides (D) gave Turner a fairly stiff challenge in 2004 (gaining 37.7% of the vote) and figures to improve in her second campaign and with an electorate yearning for change. Questions have been raised about Turner’s ethics, including a no-bid contract that benefited his spouse, and this could give Mitakides something of an opening if she is willing to exploit it.

12th District Central Ohio (includes part of Columbus and northeast suburbs, Dublin, Delaware). Cook PVI R+0.7. Bush won 51% in 2004. Incumbent Pat Tiberi (R) defeated former Congressman Bob Shamansky (D) by 58% to 42% in 2006. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 56.6% Democratic.

Businessman and political novice David W. Robinson (D) won a tough primary and is an intriguing candidate with possible crossover appeal. He has interesting credentials like a Ph.D. in theology and philosophy, a cross-country bicycle fund-raising trek for Alzheimers research, and working as a Presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Project initiative. If he had the benefit of political experience I’d move this race up to the next tier. [After some reflection I decdied that this race belongs in Tier Four because of the relatively even PVI and the challenger’s strong showing in a tough primary.] Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Westerville) is not a distinguished member of the House but held onto his seat in 2006 with nasty attack ads against his challenger.

Tier Five: Safe Republican

4th District West Central Ohio (includes Mansfield, Findlay, Marion, Lima, Bellefontaine, Sidney). Cook PVI R+14. Bush won 64% in 2004. Freshman Jim Jordan (R) defeated attorney Richard Siferd (D) by 60% to 40% in 2006.

Steelworker and labor union activist Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) deserves a lot of credit for taking on freshman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), and this district has the second highest percentage of blue collar workers in Ohio, but it is the reddest district in the state and hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1936.

8th District. West Ohio includes northern Dayton suburbs, Troy, Hamilton, Fairfield). Cook PVI R+12. Bush won 64% in 2004. Incumbent (and House Speaker) John Boehner defeated political novice Morton Meier (D) by 64% to 36% in 2006.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester)  has enormous campaign resources. Political activist and USAF veteran Nick Von Stein (D-Mason) is a personable and promising young candidate but this hill looks too steep to climb.

5th District. North Central Ohio (includes Norwalk, Bucyrus, Tiffin, Defiance, Bowling Green, Fremont). Cook PVI R+10.1. Bush won 61% in 2004. Rep. Paul Gillmor (R), who defeated repeat challenger Robin Weirauch by 57% to 43% in 2006, died in September 2007 and State Rep. Bob Latta (R) defeated Weirauch by the same margin in a special election in December.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) is safe against tanning salon and karaoke entrepreneur George F. Mays (D-Norwalk), formerly a member of the fringe Reform Party.

Democratic-Held Seats

There are no open Democratic seats and at this point there aren’t any Democratic incumbents seriously at risk.

Tier One: Leans Democratic

18th District East Central Ohio (includes Chillicothe, Zanesville, Mt. Vernon, Newark and New Philadelphia). Cook PVI R+6.1. Bush won 57% in 2004. In 2006,  disgraced incumbent Bob Ney (R-Heath) resigned late in the campaign and Dover Law Director Zack Space (D) defeated replacement candidate State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) by 62% to 38%. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 72.5% Democratic.

Just about a year ago this was considered the NRCC’s number one target nationwide. Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) has greatly increased his chances of holding this seat by raising over a million dollars and engaging in a remarkable series of high-visibility events throughout this far-flung district. He gets great local press and does strong case work through three district offices. He has staked out relatively conservative (and infuriating)  positions on guns and immigration that help him with conservative voters and buttress his claim to be a political independent. His opponent, former Ohio Director of Agriculture Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon), is not a top-notch challenger. He got 39% of the vote in a four-way GOP primary, is not considered an exciting personality or hard-working campaigner, and has lingering problems with some farmers for giving environment-damaging factory farms a free pass while running the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The NRCC and 527’s will probably pour resources into this race to try to take Space out, but he nevertheless seems to be in fairly good shape.

Tier Two: High Probability Democratic

6th District. SE Ohio (includes Athens, Marietta, Steubenville, East Liverpool). Cook PVI D+0.4. Bush won 50% in 2004. In 2006 State Sen. Charlie Wilson (D) won the Democratic primary as a write-in candidate (he had filed defective nominating petitions) and cruised to an easy general election win over former Ohio House Speaker Charles Blasdel (R) by 62% to 38% to replace Gov. Ted Strickland in this Appalachian district. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 74.6% Democratic.

Popular Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) should prevail easily over Deputy County Recorder Richard Stobbs (R-Dillonvale) in a district that has trended strongly blue due to the popularity of Gov Strickland.

10th District. NE Ohio (includes part of Cleveland and southern and western suburbs). Cook PVI D+6. Kerry won 58% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Dennis Kucinich (D) defeated former U.S. government official Mike Dovilla (R) by 66% to 34%.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) would have had a serious primary challenge from rising political force Joe Cimperman (D) if there hadn’t been three other Democrats in the race, but he should be fine against former state representative Jim Trakas (R-Independence) and independent candidate Paul Visokaj (I). [After some reflection I decided that this race belongs in Tier Two because the challenger has campaign experience, the primary revealed significant (although not over powering) dissatisfaction with the incumbent, and the PVI is not as strong as in most of the safer districts.]

Tier Three: Safe Democratic

13th District. NE Ohio (includes part of Akron and eastern suburbs, Cuyahoga Falls, Lorain, Elyria, Brnswick, Strongsville). Cook PVI D+6. Kerry won 56% in 2004. In 2006 former state representative and labor attorney Betty Sutton (D) won a close Democratic primary and handily defeated Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin (R) by 61% to 39% in the general election to replace Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon).

The GOP took their best shot when this was an open seat last cycle and lost by a country mile. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township) isn’t at risk to political newcomer David S. Potter (R).

9th District North Central Ohio (includes Toledo, Sylvania, Sandusky). Cook PVI D+9. Kerry won 58% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D) defeated electrician Bradley Leavitt (R) by 74% to 26%.

No chance for Bradley Leavitt (R-Toledo) in his rematch against the Dean of the Ohio Congressional Delegation and labor favorite Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in this heavily blue-collar district.

17th District NE Ohio (includes Youngstown, Niles, Warren, Kent). Cook PVI D+14. Kerry won 63% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Tim Ryan (D) defeated Don Manning (R) by 80% to 20%.

No worries for Pelosi protege and potential 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) over teacher Duane V. Grassell (R-Mogadore).

11th District NE Ohio (includes part of Cleveland and eastern suburbs). Cook PVI D+33. Kerry won 81.39% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Stephanie Tubbs Jones demolished car salesman Lindsey String by 83% to 17%.

No sweat for Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) over political unknown Thomas Pekarek (R) in Ohio’s bluest congressional district.

Cross-posted at Ohio Daily Blog

OH-03: Bush to Visit and Raise Money for Ohio GOP – Let’s Send a Message

Today, President Bush will be in the Dayton area, less than a week after US service member deaths in Iraq reached the grim milestone of 4,000. Bush will speak about the “global war on terror” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, no doubt using this solemn moment to conflate the GWOT with the war in Iraq.

From there, he will honor the memory of our fallen soldiers by shaking hands and cracking jokes at a $10,000 per person private reception co-sponsored by a major outsourcer of jobs and a convicted money launderer. $1,000 gets you a seat at the luncheon. The fundraiser is for the Ohio GOP’s Victory ’08 coordinated campaign in support of John McCain and Ohio’s Republican congressional candidates, ostensibly helping Mike Turner. And why not? Turner has been a reliable ally in the House, voting for the failed Bush agenda 87% of the time. He has even voted against expanding benefits for our veterans, earning a grade C from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Let’s send a message to the President and Mike Turner by contributing to his opponent, Jane Mitakides. Jane is ready to bring the kind of change that the people of the Ohio 3rd and the nation at-large are seeking – ending an irresponsible war, fixing a broken economy, and restoring America to its pre-Bush greatness.  Jane recently endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, putting her in the company of some of the best Democratic challengers in the nation, like Darcy Burner and Donna Edwards.

This morning, Jane spoke at a press conference with the Ohio Democratic Party about how Bush’s policies have maligned our nation – news to those that can pay $10,000 to take a photo with the President – and met with some anti-war protesters.

The March 31st filing deadline is around the corner – please take this opportunity to learn more about Jane and help out the campaign.  While Mr. 29% approval rating is raising money, we can do the same thing – we’ve done it before.

(Full disclosure: I am the New Media/Voter Outreach Director for Jane’s campaign)

OH-03: Jane Mitakides Endorses Responsible Plan

(Full disclosure: I am the New Media/Voter Outreach Director for Jane’s campaign)

Today, Jane Mitakides, Democratic challenger in OH-03, proudly endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, adding her to a list of leading Democratic candidates that are standing up to move the country forward.

The Responsible Plan fills the void of leadership in Washington, yet relies only on common sense solutions, basing its objectives on Iraq Study Group recommendations and legislation currently in the hopper. Perhaps it is a measure of how bad things have gotten when “respect the Constitution,” “fund veterans care,” and “stop torture” are ideas that cannot get traction in DC.

The American people are ahead of the politicians on these issues, and they want change. They know that Iraq is not only a cause of many of our ills, but a symptom of even larger ones. Luckily, the people will soon be able to exercise their most basic right, and vote for candidates that truly represent them: Jane Mitakides is one of those candidates.

Click here to view the press release.

With a filing deadline on the 31st, it’s a great time to support Jane in this winnable swing district. Here’s her ActBlue page.

Ohio Democratic Congressional Fund Raising reports

crossposted from Ohio Daily Blog

Candidate District 4Q Donations Cash on Hand Debts or note
Steve Driehaus OH-01 $190,054.78 $418,662.01  
Steve Black OH-02 $64,322.00 $223,535.61 $58,320.00
Victoria Wulsin OH-02 $113,773.32 $344,315.29  
Charles Sanders OH-03 $1,090.00 $21.14  
Charlie Wilson* OH-06 $64,905.33 $294,645.87 $191,650.00
Dave Woolever OH-07 $1,791.48 $305.84 $12,900.00
Bill Conner OH-07 $3,352.03 $5,780.17 $10,500.00
Marcy Kaptur* OH-09 $29,250.00 $847,210.88 All from PACs
Barbara Ferris OH-10 $12,234.00 $6,547.52  
Joe Cimperman OH-10 $227,599.78 $204,771.90  
Tom O’Grady OH-10 $28,300.00 $25,415.33  
Rosemary Palmer OH-10 $19,203.00 $51,737.13  
Dennis Kucinich* OH-10 $13,351.09 $13,383.26  
Stephanie Tubbs Jones* OH-11 $132,646.58 $114,704.16     $82,958.00 via PACs
Betty Sutton* OH-13 $74,139.68 $72,403.49  
Bill O’Neill OH-14 $71,226.46     $102,930.45      
Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15 $356,898.45 $638,086.88 $35,000
John Boccieri OH-16 $110,789.38 $308,719.15  
Tim Ryan* OH-17 $165,695.01 $357,103.59      
Zack Space* OH-18 $282,181.83 $755,810.31 $11,106.88

NOTES: Incumbents indicated with asterisk  (*)

Anyone not listed did not file a report. (Candidates who raised less than $5,000 are not required to file.)